Some of the most popular options for flooring in a home can include wood, tile, laminate, vinyl, linoleum, and carpeting. Each of these different types of flooring offer both pros and cons to your environment, as many of these options contain specific chemicals within their construction that can be significantly hazardous to your indoor air quality and even potentially the health of the occupants exposed to these flooring chemicals. However, carpeting, in particular, is known for the strong chemical emissions especially during installation that can taint the entire environment for what seems like way longer than it should. The new carpet smells after installation can be anything but safe, and if you are someone that just placed new carpeting in your house you may wish to take steps to mitigate these carpet chemical fumes from the indoor air of your home.
In this article we are going to learn more about why new carpet smells after installation and discuss how to get rid of new carpet smells using air quality solutions in your home.
Is New Carpet Toxic to Install?
Have you ever had new carpeting installed into your home only to be invaded with the strong smell of chemicals? The new carpet smell that we associate with new carpet installation are composed of chemical fumes that are released from the material of the carpet that are used during the manufacturing process and these chemical emissions can potentially adversely impact the indoor air quality and health of those in the environment. However, most times when a homeowner purchases this type of flooring there are only two considerations that are taken into mind – pricing and comfortability of the flooring.
Carpeting is one of the most affordable options when it comes to flooring, and when you are installing this flooring throughout your whole home carpeting will be the ideal choice. In addition, carpeting may also be a preferred option for those parents with kids who want a safer, more comfortable flooring option. Although these two carpet benefits are what drive most consumers to pick this type of flooring material for their homes, there are many risks that this flooring can present to your indoor space – as it can dramatically affect both the indoor air quality levels and the health of those that are exposed to these off gassing chemicals that are emitted after carpeting is installed.
New Carpet Smell
After the initial installation of new carpeting inside of your home or other personal indoor environment, your nose may become assaulted by the strong, pungent aroma of what is known as ‘new carpet smell’. New carpet smell will many times be identified as a pleasant new smell that makes its apparent that your home has undergone an upgrade. However, this upgraded smell is really the composition of potentially hazardous chemicals that are released from the material of the carpeting after it is installed and acclimated into the indoor environment. Chemicals are used and integrated into the materials used to construct the carpeting including the glues used, padding, and even in the actual carpeting material alone – and all of these will result in the new carpet smell in an indoor space.
According to Home Reference, there are several different types of chemicals that are used in new carpeting, and the main chemical culprit behind the carpet smells emitted into the air is from volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. These chemical compounds are commonly used in many household products and building materials including carpeting. When these compounds are introduced into an indoor environment, the chemical(s) will turn from a solid or liquid into a gas that will off gas the chemical odor in the indoor air.
How Long Does Carpet Off Gassing Last?
One of the big questions that a homeowner will have after they install carpeting in their home is, ‘how long does carpet off gassing last?’. The carpet off gassing period is most noticeably recognized by the chemical smell that is emitted after the installation process, and as we discussed earlier this smell is a mixture of chemicals that are released from the carpeting into the air. According to Bridge Point, new carpet will give off chemical VOCs into the air through the off-gassing process. And this process usually takes 1 to 2 days to finish after the installation process, or the worst case 4 or 5 days. However, the major concern to off gassing is the capability of your indoor environment to trap these chemical compounds in the air. Therefore, integrating indoor air quality solutions in the space to increase air flow and indoor ventilation can be important to speeding up the carpet off gassing process.
The chemicals found in carpeting has long-time been a problem to indoor environments and public health, with many reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about carpet chemical problems. Back in the 1980s, workers at the headquarters of the EPA complained about the new carpet in the office as they claimed to be causing them respiratory problems and flu-like symptoms, according to How Stuff Works. Along with this report, more and more have come out about the adverse effects of the chemicals found in carpeting – and these chemicals can vary depending on the type of carpeting, the manufacturer, and other specifications of the flooring.
Some of the most common chemicals that are found in most carpeting includes VOCs like formaldehyde and even sometimes the hazardous chemical polypropylene. Each of these chemicals can have a different impact on the indoor environment and the health of those occupants that are exposed to them in their home’s. Below we are going to go into more depth about how these chemicals work in the environment and what makes them potentially hazardous in the indoor air.
Polypropylene is a synthetic fiber that is used to make many different products including carpeting – and this fabric can be used in many forms of carpeting, adding to the chemical fumes produced from new carpet smell. This type of material is generally used in carpeting and other products due to its cheap cost, however, the cheap cost will cost you durability as the fibers will not last as long and will have poor resistance to soiling. Additionally, this material will also lead to chemical emissions as the polypropylene is a polymer that is created from monomer propylene which will result in toxic byproducts that can be potentially hazardous when inhaled into the human body.
The polypropylene fabric is typically used as a backing to rugs or on carpeting and when its used in this capacity it can contain a wide range of chemicals, some say over 40 different chemical compounds that can be released into the air of the environment, according to the Ecology Center. One of the most common chemicals found in the polypropylene carpeting material is 4-phenylcuclohexane (4-PC) a known VOC that can pollute the air significantly. Just like other VOCs, 4-phenylcuclohexane can provoke and exacerbate certain health issues after exposure has occurred in high levels or for a long duration of time.
Formaldehyde in Carpet
Another known chemical that is found in a lot of carpeting material is the well-known VOC called formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong- smelling gas used in making building materials and other household products – especially pressed-wood products, glues and adhesives, permanent-press fabrics, insulation materials, etc. This chemical compound VOC, along with hundreds of other VOCs can be found in new carpeting and will be responsible for the off-gassing odors from the material after it is installed. The VOCs like formaldehyde that are found in the construction or materials of the carpeting will turn from a solid/liquid into a gas in the indoor environment, as it acclimates to the room temperatures. Once this happens it will lead to a tainting of the air quality and eventually it can have compromising effects on those individuals that are exposed to the airborne chemical compounds.
Toxic Carpet Symptoms
During the installation and off-gassing process of the new carpeting, your home environment may become a war zone to your health, especially those who suffer from allergies and/or asthma. The chemical mixtures that are created and released from carpeting will enter into the air space through off-gassing fumes that will ultimately lead to the impact to indoor air quality in the indoor space. When it comes to the potential symptoms that a person may experience from toxic carpet installation, it has been found that these are the most commonly experienced health effects;
- Respiratory symptoms
- Ringing in the ears
- Shortness of breath
- Joint pain
- And Tremors
Detoxing New Carpet
If you have had enough of the new carpet smell, off-gassing chemicals in your home’s air space it may be time to find the best methods to use that will work to detoxing the new carpet smells from the indoor air of the environment. Whether that be working on the source of the problem by treating the fabric with a chemical neutralizing agent or even by adding fans and increasing ventilation in the environment, all of these may help to detox the environment from the new carpet odors. Additionally, the use of air quality solutions can also help to detoxing the indoor environment from new carpeting chemicals. The most commonly used air quality solutions for an indoor environment like a home includes high efficiency air purifiers and HVAC filters that can be directly installed into the central air handling system.
How to Get Rid of New Carpet Smell
The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier and EnviroKlenz HVAC Filter are two air quality solutions that are commonly used to combat new construction chemicals like carpeting and other floorings that may emit chemical compounds into the indoor air. EnviroKlenz is a revolutionary earth mineral technology that works by containing, capturing, and neutralizing a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air – including new carpet smell. This neutralization process is done without the use of chemicals, byproduct creation, or the use of masking agents or fragrances – making is a safe and effective air purification option. The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier contains a two-stage filtration process, the first stage is the EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge that contains the EnviroKlenz® earth mineral technology for VOCs and noxious odor removal, and the second stage filtration is a hospital-grade HEPA filter for particulate removal larger than 0.3 microns in size.
In addition, the EnviroKlenz HVAC Filter will also contain the same technology to help neutralize a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air. This HVAC filter can be easily placed in the central air handling system to help with VOC, odor, and particulate removal on the filter material. These filters last for up to 6 months in your air handling system, providing you thorough filtration from these new carpet smells in the environment.
Mobile Air System
✓ Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Safer and faster at removing VOC’s than traditional carbon filters and PECO air purifiers